Herbal therapy: what every facial plastic surgeon must know

Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2001 Apr-Jun;3(2):127-32. doi: 10.1001/archfaci.3.2.127.


Herbal medicine (phytomedicine) uses remedies possessing significant pharmacological activity and, consequently, potential adverse effects and drug interactions. The explosion in sales of herbal therapies has brought many products to the marketplace that do not conform to the standards of safety and efficacy that physicians and patients expect. Unfortunately, few surgeons question patients regarding their use of herbal medicines, and 70% of patients do not reveal their use of herbal medicines to their physicians and pharmacists. All surgeons should question patients about the use of the following common herbal remedies, which may increase the risk of bleeding during surgical procedures: feverfew, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, and Asian ginseng. Physicians should exercise caution in prescribing retinoids or advising skin resurfacing in patients using St John's wort, which poses a risk of photosensitivity reaction. Several herbal medicines, such as aloe vera gel, contain pharmacologically active ingredients that may aid in wound healing. Practitioners who wish to recommend herbal medicines to patients should counsel them that products labeled as supplements have not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration and that no guarantee of product quality can be made.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Loss, Surgical
  • Drug Interactions
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Plants, Medicinal / adverse effects*
  • Skin Diseases / chemically induced
  • Surgery, Plastic*
  • Wound Healing / drug effects


  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal
  • Plant Extracts